Posted on 2 June 2019
The pancreas is home to the Islets of Langerhans, biological structures that contain insuling producing beta-cells. Destruction of these beta-cells, either by the immune system, or during aging, leads to Type 1, or Type 2 diabetes, respectively.
One potential technique for treating diabetes is creating beta-cells from stem cells to transplant into patients.
A recent study, published in Nature, has begun to map the molecular steps in the differentiation of stem cells into islet-like cells. These steps were observed via high resolution, transcriptional profiling of over 100,000 human cells undergoing β-cell differentiation, and this has taken us closer to understanding the pathways involved in the generation of stem-cell-derived beta-cells.
This is an important advance in the research behind stem-cell based diabetes therapies.